Home Prices Rise During Pandemic… Will it Continue?

The economy is shrinking, businesses are closing and jobs are disappearing due to the coronavirus pandemic. But in the housing market, prices keep climbing higher.

Home prices plunged during the last recession after the 2007 housing crash caused millions of families to lose their homes, but that hasn’t been the case this time. The median home price nationwide rose 8% year-over-year to $280,600 in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. In the same period, in Jackson County, the median home price rose 11.5% to $310,000. While buyer demand has softened during the pandemic, the number of homes sold has fallen by over 30% in Jackson County; but the supply of homes on the market is contracting even faster. Demand is outstripping supply, causing prices to rise. Homes priced under $350,000 are often seeing multiple offers and selling in a few days. Higher-end homes, over $600,000, are still waiting for more out-of-state buyers to arrive. Here in Jacksonville, it’s another story. Even though active listings are down by 27%, we have seen the number of homes sold increase by 84% year-to-date.

For the first time in my career, I’m seeing out-of-state buyers purchasing homes without seeing the home in person. They are making offers on homes after viewing the listing online and viewing a walk-through video. In one case, a retiring couple had their brother, who lives in Jacksonville, walk through a home and make a final decision for them. Many others are calling to inquire on homes but waiting for stay-at-home orders to ease before deciding whether to make the trip to buy. Once the states lift their stay-at-home orders, we will see how home sales are affected. It’s hard to say what the world will look like post-pandemic, but it will change many people’s’ behavior.

On one hand, the cancellation of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Britt Festival will mean the loss of thousands of monthly tourists who often decide at the end of their vacation to move to our area. But, on the other hand, thousands of families and retirees will most likely decide to move out of crowed metropolitan areas in favor of smaller, safer communities like ours. Southern Oregon lacks job opportunities, but many employers may be more open to their employees working from home after favorable experiences during the pandemic.

Bottom line: the housing market has been under-supplied for years and during the pandemic it has gotten worse. We are currently facing lots of demand for housing which will increase as the pandemic subsides. Unless we see a drastic increase in the number of homes that come on the market for sale, we will certainly see home prices continue to rise throughout 2020.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Let us know:

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Help is On the Way!

We hope you are all faring well and that you are healthy and still have a job. We know some of you will be hit hard financially, but there is help on the way. Whether you have lost your job, your hours were cut, or you have become sick, there is help for the self-employed, 1099 workers and W2 workers. We have done some extensive digging to find resources that extend relief to those affected. Here are our findings:

Cash to you
-Every adult making less than $75,000 will receive a $1,200 check.
-Every child under the age of 17 will get a check for $500
-If you file electronically you should be receiving your check before mid-April. If you don’t file electronically, it will be mailed and will take longer.

Tax Relief
Both your Federal and State 2019 income tax is not due until July 15th 2020, so if you owe, you don’t have to pay now.

Student Loans
You can suspend payments on your student loans until September 30th. Interest shall not accrue and there are no negative credit ramifications

Unemployment benefits have expanded
-Unemployment has been increased by an additional $600 a week. See what you qualify for.
-Unemployment has now been expanded to include Self- employed and Independent contractors or those workers receiving a 1099 instead of a W2.
-Unemployment has been expanded to include those who are still working, but have reduced hours
-Unemployment has been expanded to 39 weeks (Almost 10 months)
To apply go to https://www.oregon.gov/employ/Unemployment/Pages/default.aspx

Receive forbearance on your mortgage
Borrowers with mortgages on properties designed for 1-4 families can request 180 days forbearance from their mortgage servicer if they are unable to pay due to COVID-19. Mortgage servicers are required to grant the request upon attestation of the borrower’s hardship without additional documentation and with no fees, penalties, or interest beyond the amounts scheduled or calculated as if the borrower made all contractual payments on time and in full under the terms of the mortgage contract.

Section 8 voucher has been Expanded
The section 8 voucher rental assistance for Seniors, the disabled and low-income working families has been expanded
For more information, contact Jackson County Housing authority: 1-888-276-7890

Auto Loans & Credit Cards
Many Credit unions and banks are allowing borrowers to delay auto and credit card payments. Call your credit union or bank for individual details and qualifications.

Loans for Small Business Owners
-The SBA (Small Business Administration) has expanded their loans to those businesses making less money than before Covid-19 (see YouTube videos below to explain)
-Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
(This may be forgivable)
-Emergency Economic Injury Grant of $10,000
-May not have to pay back is a check box on the Business Debt relief application
-Small Business Debt Relief Program
Contact https://covid19relief.sba.gov/
-2 YouTube videos to explain the programs:
PPP: payroll protection https://youtu.be/X0q7VmNni5w
Loan $10,000 grant: http://bit.ly/covidsbaloan

Retirement Accounts
If you have money saved in a retirement account such as a 401K or IRA, you can now take out that money for emergency. The 10% early withdrawal penalty is waived and you have 3 years to pay it back.

Meals and Rental assistance
ACCESS Offers
Housing and rental assistance / food pantry network
Contact them at 541-779-6691 or https://www.accesshelps.org/

Companies hiring temporary employees
https://regionalhelpwanted.com/southern-oregon-jobs/
www.sogoodwill.org

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude for health care professionals working on the front lines of this crisis and all other essential workers like grocery store employees for keeping food stocked and risking your own health to provide for others.

If you have questions about how to access any of the programs mentioned here or want more information, reach out via the contact form below or give us a call at 541-899-7788.

Sincerely,
All of us at Expert Properties

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Let us know:

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Jacksonville Review

Due to COVID-19 and the number of event cancellations, restrictions on business operations, and other factors out of anyone’s control, the Publisher of the Jacksonville Review has decided NOT to run a print issue of the April Jacksonville Review. Here at Expert Properties, we are aware that many of our community members use the Jacksonville Review publication to stay up to date on real estate listings in Jacksonville and all of Southern Oregon. So in lieu of a printed copy, here is a digital copy just for you!

See something you like? Let us know:

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Getting Top Dollar for Your Home

Getting top dollar for your home is everyone’s goal. Sometimes the answer is simply staging your home and completing some minor repairs. There are some improvements that increase the value of a home and some just increase its salability. Most sellers are prepared to get their home staged to sell; but, in some cases, they can dramatically increase the value of their home by replacing or remodeling. Here is a look at how to get the top dollar for your home by staging, replacing or remodeling.

Stage

The key to create salability is to create a clean, decluttered, and depersonalized home. Curb appeal, or more importantly, web appeal, while viewing online is critical. When a buyer approaches the home or sees the first photo online, they should be visually attracted to the home. Groomed front gardens, fresh bark, fresh flowers, power washed siding, and a clean or newly painted front door all increase curb appeal. Once inside, the same theory applies – clean and decluttered surfaces, free of personal photos, is the key. You may need new carpet or fresh paint, but in all cases you know you’re going to move, so start packing and decluttering. When a buyer feels comfortable enough to sit down on your living room couch, they have begun the process of envisioning the home as theirs.
Replace or Remodel

Replace or Remodel

Going beyond staging can yield a higher home value, but jumping into a home remodeling project isn’t for the faint of heart, especially since you’ll want to make sure you can recoup a good part of your investment when it comes time to sell. To help you pinpoint the right projects, Remodeling Magazine has just released its annual Cost vs. Value report highlighting how much various projects cost, and their corresponding return on investment when you sell the home.

Review the chart below and you’ll notice a pattern. With the exception of the minor kitchen remodel, the items with the highest cost recouped all center around enhancing the curb appeal. First impressions are important. The replacements that offer the greatest payback to sellers are the ones that are most obvious to buyers when they first view the house in person or online. You may choose to do a major remodel or addition to provide you with a few years of enjoyment while still offering decent payback down the road, like a kitchen remodel; but, be careful, you may increase the salability of the home but you may not recoup your investment.

Another way of drastically increasing the value of your home is by adding square feet; but, unless you can do it cheaply, you’re not likely to get back your full cost. New construction cost per square foot is high, and in many cases, higher than the resell price per square foot.

If you do decide to remodel your home before selling, a few words of advice – make sure you complete all projects before putting your house on the market. There is nothing that turns buyers off faster than a house filled with the owner’s unfinished remodeling projects.

So whether you decide to Stage, Replace or Remodel, consult with your Realtor® on projects that will get you top dollar and allow you to recoup the greatest percentage of your investment. If you’re handy, doing the projects yourself can help in recouping the remodeling cost.

The number of homes for sale in Jackson County is down 25% from the same time last year. Demand for homes priced under $400,000 is very high, and supply is very low, so it’s a seller market. If you have been thinking of selling your home, now may be time!

Have questions about how to get top dollar for your home? Let us know.

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2020 Vision of the Market

2020 Vision of the Market

Forecasting the future can be hard, but starting with a good knowledge of the past can give a clearer vision of the future. The real estate market in Jackson County has been very stable for years so it’s logical to assume the trend will continue in 2020. Based on the numbers below, it’s safe to assume that around 4,000 homes will sell in 2020 and prices will continue to rise.

Although the number of homes sold per year has stayed about the same in the past few years, the price of these homes has been increasing each year for an average of about $14,000 per house, per year. We have had very little inventory on price points below $400,000 so that has helped prices to rise.  As far as price points, we have seen a decline in home sales under $300,000 since 2016. This isn’t due to the lack of demand, but lack of supply. The most active price point was $300,000 – $350,000 which saw the most home sales. The number of homes sold from $300,000 – $999,000 has steadily increased in sales each year but the number of homes sold over $1,000,000 has been stagnant. It is a weak market for homes priced over $1 million with very few selling.

If you just looked at the housing market for the past few years, you would forecast for 2020 that about 4,000+ homes will sell and the median price of a home will go up about $14,000 and increase to a median price of $306,500 by the end of year. However, in addition to using the past to predict the future, you need to also look at the factors that are creating demand for housing and the factors that may slow down, or speed up the market.

On the positive side:

  • Jackson County’s unemployment rate is down to a low of 5.3%, so more people are making money.  Yes, we’re behind the national average, but these are great numbers for our area.
  • Interest rates are at a classic low with a 30-year mortgage averaging 3.8%, which means buyers can get more house for the same monthly payment.
  • Southern Oregon continues to increased its tourism draw and revenue, with 2019 turning out to be a good year. This is an important part of our economy and it introduces potential buyers to the area.
  • Southern Oregon has increased its draw for retirees, making them an important part of our economy. The number of Americans retiring daily has nearly doubled since 2000 and currently, roughly 10,000 people turn 65 each day, the standard age for retirement.
  • New construction in our area has increased, giving buyers more options.
  • The stock market is at an all-time high and made huge gains in 2019. High stock market prices also equate to a higher 401K retirement value, causing people to feel good about retiring earlier. High stock prices also mean there are very few good deals for investors, so we start seeing an increasing number of investors turning to real estate investments.
  • The hemp market, while having some weather challenges in 2019, has added a sizable boost to our local economy, and the demand is forecasted to continue in 2020.
  • We have seen an influx of refugees moving here as a result of California fires, especially the Camp fire in Paradise. Rampant wildfires, sky rocketing fire insurance costs, and the precautionary blackouts are reshaping life in California leaving many residents to question whether they should leave and move north.
  • We had a beautiful summer, free of smoke and with moderate temperatures, but we need to get the word out. There is still a “Fear of Smoke” for many that live outside the state. The lack of smoke didn’t seem to have much effect on our summer sales this year but we’re starting to feel an increase in buyers coming back this winter to rethink moving here.

On the negative side:

  • Many economists are predicting a recession in 2020 due to slowing growth of the global economy.
  • Global Sales are declining and large US companies are feeling it.
  • Our national debt is increasing at a record pace. With a major tax cut and increased spending bill we are experiencing a record deficit.
  • Homeowners are staying in their houses longer. The average is now 13 years which is 5 years longer than 2010.
  • Consumer debt is at an all-time high so fewer families can afford a mortgage or a larger mortgage. Consumer debt has climbed to $4 Trillion not counting mortgages.
  • The Federal Reserve has taken actions to stimulate the economy, which is concerning, as usually these measures are reserved as tactics to get the US out of a recession.
  • We had 2 summers filled with smoke. We saw some families move out of the area and many retirees chose not to retire here. There still may be a “Fear of Smoke” that keeps retirees and escapees from relocating here. 

How these positive and negative factors affect our housing market has yet to play out. My bet is that the economists are correct and the US economy will slow in 2020, but that will have little effect on our area.  With the increasing amount of fire related issues in California, combined with the large number of Americans retiring, my forecast for 2020 is that our area will see an increase in the number of homes sold and an increase in the median price of a home. If we see a second smokeless summer, we will overcome the “fear of smoke”, attracting escapees and retirees and stimulating the market for higher end homes which will be a double-digit growth in the 2020 Real Estate market.

 

Have questions about how your home will be affected in 2020? Let us know!

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4 Ways to Get Instant Curb Appeal in 2020

Your home’s exterior is like the cover of a book, setting the stage for what’s inside. Whether you’re interested in selling, or just want to make some improvements for your own enjoyment, adding curb appeal is often an easy and inexpensive way to make your house feel nicer and increase its value. Here are 4 projects that will help your home give a better first impression.

One of the most obvious (and most impactful) ways to boost curb appeal is to add some fresh greenery and flowers. Don’t worry if you don’t have the time or money to spend on putting in a garden—you can get the same effect by adding some planters and window boxes. Use plants to accentuate and frame key visual points, like windows and entryways, and if you don’t have room for a standing planter, hook up a hanging one. Even just one pretty plant arrangement can significantly add to your home’s exterior appearance.

Boost curb appeal by having your front door stand out instead of blend in. Painting your front door is relatively cheap and is a pretty easy DIY job, even for beginners. Opt for a bold color that accentuates and enhances (rather than clashes with) the other colors of your home’s exterior.

Quickly modernize the look of your home by removing your old house numbers and replacing them with something that has a bit more *oomph. Choose a font that aligns with the architecture of your home but that is also distinctive enough to really grab the eye. Even if you’re not super handy, replacing the numbers is an easy job that can be done in about half an hour or less.

There’s nothing welcoming about a dark entryway. If you already have a sconce or hanging pendant by your front door, replace it with something a bit more fun and fresh. Clean off all cobwebs and debris around outdoor light fixtures, which will instantly make the space appear more bright and clean. If you need some additional light sources, hang some porch string lights or use solar powered lanterns to light up a walkway.

Have questions on how to boost curb appeal at your house? Let us know!

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